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“Drug development for Alzheimer’s is notorious for failures,” says Julie Collens, PhD. She goes on to explain that about 150 drugs developed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease over the past 20 years have failed to meet the clinical target and endpoint of the study designed to test their efficacy.

Julie Collens, CEO and founder of Vivid Genomics, is trying to change this by creating and implementing several tests which will identify variations in the disease which could be skewing the outcomes of clinical studies, thereby blocking potentially effective drugs from reaching the market and bettering patient’s lives. The progression rate of the disease, the stage of disease, vitamin B deficiencies, and recent history of a stroke are just a few of the variables that can alter the way in which a person’s body responds to particular drugs, and the tests being developed by Vivid Genomics should identify these quickly and inexpensively, which will make for better-designed clinical studies, better data, and the ability to carry out better, more predictive analyses than is currently being done.

Collens joins the podcast to discuss the details of each of the four prototypes they have designed and when they’re expected to be fully commercialized, the challenges posed by the identification and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, including the existence of multiple sub-types of dementia often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s (or vice versa), and the way in which they are leveraging data from genome-wide association studies in the development of their tests.

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